New Delhi: CNN-IBN has reliably learned that Leander Paes has decided to back out of the Olympics, merely hours after the All Indian Tennis Association (AITA) announced on Thursday that it will send two men's doubles teams to London.
AITA had paired Paes with Vishnu Vardhan and Mahesh Bhupathi with Rohan Bopanna, but as Paes’ father Vece had indicated to CNN-IBN, the Indian tennis veteran has not agreed with the decision. According to sources, Paes is fed up with AITA not taking strong steps and sent the association a letter rejecting the two-team formula.
"Leander doesn't make flippant decisions," said Vece Paes. "It should have been as per AITA rules. This is a selection process based on political pressure not rankings. We don’t to go the Olympics to participate, but to win medals. We are rewarding those blackmailing the country.
“Leander is discussing with people whether to play or not. He will only play in the Olympics if there is fairness in the system," he continued. "AITA could send the entry as it is today. People can try and convince Leander. How long could Leander keep quiet when so much is being talked about him? We cannot question Leander, he has a right to choose his partner.”
This means in all likelihood that Bhupathi and Bopanna will go to London as India's official entry in the men's doubles' category and that Bhupathi will partner Sania Mirza in the mixed doubles' category.
AITA sources have said that an e-mail has been sent to Sania congratulating her on selection for the Olympics as Paes' partner, but that she has yet to respond.